Channeling Pete Seeger at Friends of the Clearwater concert


click to enlarge Fiddlin' Big Al is Alan Chidester.
Fiddlin' Big Al is Alan Chidester.

The late Pete Seeger once sailed the Hudson River in his boat, Clearwater, in hopes of forcing clean-up of PCB contamination. With his wife, he founded Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc. in 1966 to protect the Hudson and its surrounding wetlands.

He even went as far as starting an annual music and environmental festival, the Great Hudson River Revival.

Maybe it’s the name, “Clearwater,” but it sounds a lot like Saturday’s Friends of the Clearwater benefit concert.

“There’s a lot of parallelism there,” said Brett Haverstick, education and outreach director of the FOC.

With a handful of folk musicians and environmental activists, the FOC will host their annual benefit concert 7-11 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the 1912 Center.

“I’m going to work on channeling my inner Pete Seeger,” said Fiddlin’ Big Al, or Alan Chidester, who will play a combination of folk, blues and rock and roll music with his fiddle, banjo, guitar and a piano.

Big Al joined Kelly Emo, who plays guitar and sings folk music, to run the concert after years of involvement with the FOC.

“Since our guitars are made out of wood, we have an interest in the surrounding forest,” Big Al said, laughing.

Emo said there’s a wave he’s trying to start again — music should be used as a tool like Seeger did years ago.

Big Al and Emo write together on issues that matter to them, such as fracking. Emo hopes lyrics about “what kind of world we’re leaving for our children” will reach out to people.

Haverstick said the concert will teach attendees about some of the big issues the FOC is facing. A short PowerPoint once or twice between sets will focus on big issues, such as keeping megaloads out of the Nez Perce nation, stopping the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange and litigating against the Clearwater National Forest travel plan.

Other FOC concert performers include Garrett Clevenger, Pat McFarland, Matti Sand and Smokin’ Mojo. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as raffle tickets, will be for sale, while pizza will be served. All ticket sales, $10 each, will go to the FOC.

“I’m pounding my drum and saying, ‘Come on people, let’s go,’ ” Emo said. if you go: WHAT: Friends of the Clearwater annual benefit concert WHEN: 7-11 p.m. Saturday WHERE: Great Room, 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St., Moscow COST: $10 at Bookpeople of Moscow, Deadbeat Records, Keeney Bros., the Friends of Clearwater office and through the FOC website at Friends of the Clearwater focus on wildland issues for annual benefit concert

Treffry can be reached at (208) 883-4640 or Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTreffry.

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